Deuteronomy 7:20 Commentaries: "Moreover, the LORD your God will send the hornet against them, until those who are left and hide themselves from you perish.
Deuteronomy 7:20
Moreover the LORD your God will send the hornet among them, until they that are left, and hide themselves from you, be destroyed.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(20) The hornet.—To be understood literally. (See on Deuteronomy 1:44, and Joshua 24:12.) The “land flowing with (milk and) honey” may well have swarmed with bees and hornets.

7:12-26 We are in danger of having fellowship with the works of darkness if we take pleasure in fellowship with those who do such works. Whatever brings us into a snare, brings us under a curse. Let us be constant to our duty, and we cannot question the constancy of God's mercy. Diseases are God's servants; they go where he sends them, and do what he bids them. It is therefore good for the health of our bodies, thoroughly to mortify the sin of our souls; which is our rule of duty. Yet sin is never totally destroyed in this world; and it actually prevails in us much more than it would do, if we were watchful and diligent. In all this the Lord acts according to the counsel of his own will; but that counsel being hid from us, forms no excuse for our sloth and negligence, of which it is in no degree the cause. We must not think, that because the deliverance of the church, and the destruction of the enemies of the soul, are not done immediately, therefore they will never be done. God will do his own work in his own method and time; and we may be sure that they are always the best. Thus corruption is driven out of the hearts of believers by little and little. The work of sanctification is carried on gradually; but at length there will be a complete victory. Pride, security, and other sins that are common effects of prosperity, are enemies more dangerous than beasts of the field, and more apt to increase upon us.There seems to be here not so much as a reference to the plagues inflicted miraculously by God on Egypt (compare Exodus 15:26), as to the terrible diseases with which, above other countries, Egypt was infested. Compare Deuteronomy 28:27, Deuteronomy 28:35. It is not without significance that Egypt, which represents in Scripture the world as contrasted with the Church, should thus above other lands lie under the power of disease and death. 20. Moreover the Lord thy God will send the hornet among them—(See on [118]Jos 24:12 [and [119]Ex 23:28]). The hornet; of which see on Exodus 23:28. Moreover, the Lord thy God will send the hornet among them,.... Not a single one, but several of them, and which may be understood of creatures so called, which resemble wasps, only twice as large, an insect very bold and venomous; see Exodus 23:28. Aben Ezra interprets it of the leprosy:

until they that are left, and hide themselves from thee, be destroyed; such of the Canaanites who escaped the sword of the Israelites, and hid themselves in holes and caverns of the earth; these the hornets would find out and sting them to death, until they were all destroyed. Thus God can make use of small creatures, even insects, to destroy nations the most populous and mighty.

Moreover the LORD thy God will send the {h} hornet among them, until they that are left, and hide themselves from thee, be destroyed.

(h) There is not a creature so small, that I will not arm it to fight on your side against them.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
20. And also the hornets will Jehovah … send, etc.] E twice, Exodus 23:28, Joshua 24:12. ‘By also D indicates that he will have the hornets understood not as the only weapon of God, but as an example of His weapons; by the rest of the verse he makes it sufficiently clear that he takes hornets in the proper sense of the word, in so far as they penetrate into holes and corners’ (Dillmann).Verse 20. - Hornet (cf. Exodus 23:28). Instances are on record of armies being obliged to give way before swarms of insects by which they were attacked (as in the case of Julian, who was compelled by a host of flies and gnats to change his route in retreating from Parthia; Atom. Marcell., 24, 8); but it may be doubted if the statement here is to be understood literally, and not rather figuratively, as expressive of many and varied evils with which the fugitive Canaanites were to be visited until they were extirpated (cf. Joshua 24:12, compared with Joshua 10:22-27). This mercy flowed from the love of God to Israel, and the love was manifested in blessing and multiplying the people. The blessing is then particularized, by a further expansion of Exodus 23:25-27, as a blessing upon the fruit of the body, the fruits of the field and soil, and the rearing of cattle. שׁגר, see Exodus 13:12. צאן עשׁתּרת only occurs again in Deuteronomy 28:4, Deuteronomy 28:18, Deuteronomy 28:51, and certainly signifies the young increase of the flocks. It is probably a Canaanitish word, derived from Ashtoreth (Astharte), the female deity of the Canaanites, which was regarded as the conceiving and birth-giving principle of nature, literally Veneres, i.e., amores gregis, hence soboles (Ges.); just as the Latin poets employ the name Ceres to signify the corn, Venus for love and sexual intercourse, and Lucina for birth. On Deuteronomy 7:14 and Deuteronomy 7:15, see Exodus 23:26. In Deuteronomy 7:15, the promise of the preservation of Israel from all diseases (Exodus 15:26, and Exodus 23:25) is strengthened by the addition of the clause, "all the evil diseases of Egypt," by which, according to Deuteronomy 28:27, we are probably to understand chiefly the malignant species of leprosy called elephantiasis, and possibly also the plague and other malignant forms of disease. In Egypt, diseases for the most part readily assume a very dangerous character. Pliny (h. n. xxvi. 1) calls Egypt the genitrix of contagious pestilence, and modern naturalists have confirmed this (see Hengstenberg, Egypt and the Books of Moses, p. 215; and Pruner, Krankheiten des Orients, pp. 460ff.). Diseases of this kind the Lord would rather bring upon the enemies of Israel. The Israelites, on the other hand, should be so strong and vigorous, that they would devour, i.e., exterminate, all the nations which their God would give into their hands (cf. Numbers 14:9). With this thought Moses reverts with emphasis to the command to root out the Canaanites without reserve, and not to serve their gods, because they would become a snare to them (see Exodus 10:7); and then in Deuteronomy 7:17-26 he carries out still further the promise in Exodus 23:27-30 of the successful subjugation of the Canaanites through the assistance of the Lord, and sweeps away all the objections that a weak faith might raise to the execution of the divine command.
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